Roadshow: Why would San Jose set a high speed limit for this residential street?

Q: Who establishes speed limits on San Jose streets? On my daily drive to the dog park, I‘m really surprised that the speed limit on Hellyer Avenue between Senter and Palisades is 35 mph.

This street is residential, with the exceptions of Hellyer Elementary School and a church with a family center. It is designated as a bike path, but is not wide enough for a dedicated bike lane and many cars parallel park on both sides of the road.

I think 35 mph seems dangerously high.

Duncan Graham, San Jose

A: There are several criteria, but the “85th percentile” is the primary basis for setting the speed limit on any stretch of road. That means setting the speed at which 85% of drivers are traveling, or slower.

Local jurisdictions can round down to the next lower increment of 5 mph when conditions are present that may not be apparent such as a high number of crashes or significant numbers of people walking in the area.

But this could change. San Jose is a cosponsor of Assembly Bill 43, which would give cities more leeway to reduce speeds below the 85th percentile.

Q: What is the hold-up on repaving Stevens Creek Boulevard between Interstate 880 and Santana Row, and opening up the left-turn light at Baywood exiting Valley Fair? The turn lane has been striped and the light pole has been up for over a year.

Colin McGrath, San Jose

A: This is part of the mall’s expansion. Signal work was delayed because of problems during construction and an increase in costs. This, combined with a San Jose Water Company project along the same stretch, is why the city is holding off on pavement work until next year.

Q: In driving south of King City near the Lockwood exit, we saw on both sides of Highway 101 unusual markers in the fast lane, which go for several miles. We were wondering what they were.

Here are our guesses: speed monitoring, an alien landing guide, a 5G internet connection or a Tesla experiment.

Any answers from Caltrans?

Joe Hall, Santa Cruz

A: Yep. This was a layout line for temporary striping where Caltrans pushed traffic to the inside shoulder and reconstructed the right lane and outside shoulder. It will fade over time, so it’s nothing as spectacular or innovative as your guesses.

The dark area down the center of the stripe is where there was adhesive from the tape that was there. The shadow on each side is from water jetting to try to take the temporary tape stripe off the roadway. The temporary tape doesn’t come off easily.

Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow, or contact him at mrroadshow@bayareanewsgroup.com or 408-920-5335.

 

 

 

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Author: Gary Richards

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